Sunday, January 31, 2010

ivf - day 20

After much thought, I've decided to share the process of in vitro fertilization (IVF) this time. Our first round back in June/July 2009, I was a bit more private, and only told a few close friends and family who were on a need-to-know basis. Basically, with the number of trips I made to Nashville and the alarm ringing on my phone to remind me of injections, either I could tell them the truth or they might think I was suffering a life-threatening illness.

But, this time is different. I'm much more open to talking about the process. I'm 100% comfortable with the ethics behind it and with people knowing what I'm/we're going through to have a child. If you've never heard of IVF before or only vaguely know about it, you'll be surprised over the next few weeks as you learn more. But, if you've been through it yourself or known a close friend, you won't be surprised one bit. It's likely that you know someone who's considered IVF or maybe you have considered it yourself. 1 in 7 couples experience some type of infertility. Although I'm not statistician, that seems very prevalent to me.

Here's what you need to know before I begin documenting my journey. IVF is pretty much the same protocol for almost everyone going through the process. It is a 54-60 day process and begins the day of your menstrual cycle (day 1). The first phase is suppression. My body is basically taken into a state of menopause (fun stuff there). The second phase is stimulation, where my body is in a state of overproduction of eggs. The third stage is the egg retrieval, embryo transfer, and waiting game (not my favorite part).

So, I begin today with the documentation, mainly because this is my first injection this cycle. For the last 3 months, I put myself on a list of vitamins (C, E, DHEA, extra Folate, Prenate DHA multivitamin, Selenium, Zinc). On day 3, I started an oral contraceptive that I will be taking for 21 days (only a few days left of that). And, on day 8, both Greg and I started a z-pack antibiotic for 5 days. It takes me about 7 minutes to swallow all my pills each morning, and I'll give you a full list of that process later.

But, today is all about injections. 10 units of Lupron that I give myself subcutaneously in the belly. Pinch and inch. That's what I do every morning at 7:00am. I started this morning to the left of my belly button and tomorrow, I will move to the right and back and forth she'll go. You see, this is a very precise process and it's important that I alternate sides and administer the dose at the proper time. I use a tiny insulin syringe/needle and it doesn't hurt a bit. It's much easier than getting your eyebrows waxed, let me tell you. But, just like waxing, I have to give myself the countdown so I don't chicken out. Not that I would, but it makes it easier.

If you're not a fan of shots, IVF desensitizes you to them right away. Before it's over with, I may be up to 3-4 injections per day...and the needle sizes only get bigger.

And, one last piece of trivia for you. Want to know how the process of IVF was developed?


Not my cow, per se, but she's a nice representation for heifers as a whole.

You see, cows have a VERY predictable reproductive system (just ask Bennie the Bull, he knows). They have 9 month gestations and like our cows, they give birth every spring (if Bennie times it right). VERY predictable.

Humans are less predictable, obviously, but the similarities are uncanny.

The first IVF human baby was born in 1978, and without the help of cows, it might've taken much longer to perfect the technique, taking me out of the game altogether.

So, next time you sit down to a nice steak, just think about how grateful I am for that cow you're eating.

I'll be back tomorrow for another IVF update and some pics around our snowy farm.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

2 photos from CHA

My entire week last week was spent in sunny (but cool) California for the Craft & Hobby Association Trade Show. This year was especially exciting because it was Studio Calico's debut as a manufacturer. In the past, we've always attended as buyers for the kit side of our business, but this year we were both buyers and exhibitors. Strange and exhausting at the same time.

We (the SC crew: me, Greg, Stephen, Kristen, Lorie) arrived on Friday, our plane landed at 3:00pm. We took the shuttle to the hotel and hurriedly threw our bags in the room, picked up Davinie and headed to the convention center to start working on the booth. Never was I so excited to see a big, wooden crate. IT MADE IT!!!! Huge relief. We had made it minutes before the express pass lanes were closed, so we could work after-hours and construct to our heart's content (without union labor). Ahhhhh.

The next day was pretty relaxed. Several of SC's design team arrived (Waleska, Nicole, Tina) and we put the finishing touches on the booth and walked around the hall to see what was going on at our favorite manufacturers. I loved seeing the construction of the booths and all the hard work that goes into making for such an attractive showroom in such a short period of time.

Sunday, we were swamped at the booth. Joy did make-and-takes with the Home Front Fabrips and vintage buttons, and at times, there wasn't room to move in our 10x20 space. It was at that point, I took the only two photos I took the entire trip:

Tina, me, Marnie

Joy making brooches with 2 make-n-takers :)

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday was spent with more booth sales and me catching a minute or two here and there to go scope out the fabulous finds from the design team for future kits. Let me tell you, there's lots of great product out there that I can't wait to use in kits over the next few months. I'll keep it secret for now, but yes, there are some awesome products that have my mind reeling!

On Wednesday, the show closed at 2:00 but we waited until almost 7:00 to get our crate delivered so we could pack it up. Lots of waiting, but we had fun visiting with Pink Paislee and Jenni Bowlin Studio while they were waiting too. We said goodbye to the whole design team that day except Nicole Harper who stayed behind to help us pack up. The days just pass waaaaaaaaay too quickly.

By the time we flew home to frigid temperatures, we were already making plans for the next CHA in Chicago. We already have our hotel booked so, just you wait to see what we have up our sleeves at CHA-Summer 2010!

Last but not least, thanks to all you SC loyals who have been so supportive. We truly could not have done this without you....and I know I wouldn't have had the guts to do it if it weren't for you either. Y'all are awesome!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

the bull has a name

This little girl came to visit at the farm today.

How do you look at this and not smile?

First, pink is her favorite color. (can you tell)

Second, you can't tell from this photo, but it couldn't have been a darker, more cloudy day, yet she was wearing (and it was a MUST) her princess sunglasses.

Third, she wanted to see the cows.

So, there she is sitting with my dad on the side-by-side. Ready to go and waiting for her dad.

Today, she called him "Rich Daddy."

Not a reference to money.

His name is "Rich" and she was told to call him "Daddy."

So, she said "Rich Daddy," and we all laughed, so I have a feeling that may be his name going forward.

And off the cows went to meet her.

At which point, she named the bull, "Bennie."

Apparently that was in reference to an episode of Dora the Explorer.

Lastly, I wanted to leave you with a photo sure to make you smile.

Love those crooked glasses.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Studio Calico sneaks

Since I was 13 and began writing notes in school, I've been spelling the southern word for "you" this way:


I substituted the "ou" in "you" with an "a" and took the "ll" from "all" to form this widely used contraction.

Fast forward 16 years to my iPhone. Now, when I type texts with the informal word, it always corrects it this way:


Seems odd to me, but I can't imagine Apple getting it wrong. They even correct "iphone" to "iPhone".

Spelling is near and dear to my heart, so it's important that I get this correct.

In 2nd grade, I won the school-wide spelling bee with this word:


Some unfortunate child had spelled it with an "a" and it was that same silly letter that cost me the county spelling bee in 8th grade with the word:



Anyway, this brings me to my purpose of this post.

Y'all (or ya'll if you're a non-iphone speller), won't believe that I hit the trifecta of scrapbooking supplies twice with these layouts.

You see, I love these three things:
  • Mist
  • My old typewriter
  • Stitching
But, until this month, I had never done all three on any one layout. And what do you know? I hit the trifecta twice this month!!!

This is one such layout that the trifecta can be seen. And, I typed on an angle no less. Proud of myself for that one :)
The products here can be found in the main kit, BAKER'S DOZEN. In the main kit, I've found a new love: Basic Grey micro mini stickers. So usable.

This layout is my favorite this month. And maybe of all time.

This layout uses product from the PETIT FOURS add-on and BAKER'S DOZEN main kit. I've been in love with the mini frames by American Crafts since they came out with their Letterbox line and I think I could happily use them for many years to come.
All products here are from the PETIT FOURS add-on kit. See these words on strips? I've already used the entire package. No, not on this one layout. But, yes, I've used the whole package, which is quite unusual for me.

This is my second favorite layout in the gallery this month. I had an epiphany while shuffling papers around to create little polaroid frames out of the pretty patterned papers in the main kit. Just you wait. This layout will knock your socks off.

Don't forget, these kits and add-ons go on sale February 27th at noon EST for subscribers and at 12:00am on the 28th for everyone else. We're already taking preorders for this kit, just email to reserve your subscription and then you can order add-ons with all the other privileged subscribers. :)

cold meat

When it's 20-something in Houston, you know it's cold in Kentucky.

Much of last week, we were covered with ice and snow and temperatures in the single-digits. We rarely get such cold weather for a week at a time, so this was certainly unusual.

For the special occasion, the cows grew extra wooly hair.

I wanted to get photos for you, but apparently I'm not a covert operator. I was standing on the back porch of the barn as the cows were making their trek down the fence-row.

They would stand there and stare at me, waiting to see if it was okay to pass.

Then, when one or two were brave enough, they'd take off, running past me at top-cow-speed.

I started to worry because they aren't the most graceful animals and one slip on the ice could result in a broken leg.

But they made it to the other side...safely getting past me.


While the rest of the cows passed, I went back inside so they wouldn't get scared or get hurt. I suppose I'll have to invest in a good zoom lens.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

even more from my home front

I realized that I never came back to tell you what my kitchen countertops were made of.

Sorry to leave you hanging.

Only one person got it right, but I'm not sure she counts because I think I had already told her what they were....

They're actually concrete. Highly polished concrete actually.

I've seen concrete countertops before and they generally look like concrete. Rough and like a sidewalk is sitting on your cabinets. But, this looks like upscale concrete, don't you think?

In reality, it's the same ole bag of concrete you can get for a few bucks at the hardware store. The difference is the artist behind it.

I'll tell you a bit more about that later, when our laundry countertops are installed....

But for now, here's some more photos of house projects getting checked off the list.

My favoritest tile in the whole world with grout. See those pearly whites? Don't they just shine? I can say that because they'll likely never be so sparkly again.

And, up against the baseboard and wall color to give you a feel of the room. But don't feel too much, because these pennies (aka quarters) are all mine.

The hall bath is now laid and grouted. We just chose a simple white with a medium gray grout to match the....wait for it

wait for it

charcoal gray walls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (not showing you that just yet)

A shot of the threshold and my staple boots this year. So what if they're the same from last year.
Moving outside, we're making progress, too. It was about 20 degrees when I took this photos and the guys were wanting to discuss column placement. So, I snapped the photo, went inside and watched them talk, gesture a bit, talk some more, and then about 10 minutes later, I came back outside to approve the decision.

me = not dumb

Finally laying the tile in the master bath.

VERY simple. I think those are 6x6 squares like you see in the bathroom at a convenient store.

Scary, I know...but mine will be cleaner than that, I promise you.

Although G misses the trash can quite a bit.

I really wanted these all over the floor.

And you thought the pennies upstairs made you smile.


These are itty bitty tiny (can't think of a currency to compare them to), smaller than pennies.

Can you tell I have a thing for circles? It's the shape I most love, but wouldn't want to be.

Would much rather be hourglass myself.
I married upside-down triangle, which is transforming into circle, hence the medicine ball post a couple weeks ago.

Back to the tile. These tiny circles are in our shower in the master bath.

Hopefully they'll help prevent slippage.

[insert Big Bang Theory reference]

According to Sheldon that's a must. He has ducks on his shower floor, but I think tiny circle marble tiles are more fashionable and serve the same purpose.

Okay, back outside to the backyard.

There's my man in Carhart, sporting the vest he would like to wear out to eat and to church.

Behind him is my parents basement being poured.
Yes, I will live THAT CLOSE to my parents and I'm 100% okay with it, but that's another post for another day.

Now, these I'm proud of even though they weren't my idea.

Porch ceilings.

I don't know the technical name for anything here, but I do know the wood species is pine and it's stained before it's put up. There's a reason for that, I'm sure. And, it looks really expensive, but it's not.

No, it's not cheaper than vinyl, but it is a cheap price for a nice look.

Don't ask me for quotes, I don't know what they are, but these were one thing within our budget, so I know I didn't break the bank on them.

And a different angle.

Can't wait to be sitting under them this summer, sipping on a Sonic drink and watching Greg grill one of the cows.

Can't wait. Especially because it's looking more like Valentines' Day before we'll be moving in.